Interesting day today.
First I decided to worm my horses again. Buzz is the oldest and has more history of traditional training/handling and less history of CT. I targeted the wormer tube parallel to the side of his mouth or had him target the tube about ten times. Then I had an opportunity to slip it in and worm him. It’s helpful that the wormer is apple flavored. He wasn’t happy about it, but willing, and he did take the treats afterward.
Ollie only needed about six trials before he took the tube in his mouth and I squirted it in.
Atty, The Star, immediately put his mouth over the tube and in went the wormer!
I’ve trained worming before by just using a large syringe with apple sauce in it. But then, when I went to worm them, they, especially Atty, gave me such a look of betrayal. And then the next time I tried to worm him, he’d leave, so I’d have to retrain the behavior.
But this time, I had followed Peggy Hogan’s protocol and it has worked like a charm! I think she has this in a video. See http://www.thebestwhisperisaclick.com.
We also played the “Head Up Game” wherein I drop treats into their feeds pans with the idea of shaping a head-up behavior and put it on cue. I started a few days ago with all three of them. For Buzz, I had to start with my being right down there at his food pan and putting treats in quickly, otherwise he would just look at me to put treats right into his mouth. He’s getting better, but he still thinks the direct method is preferable.
Ollie started out pretty good, but has now regressed to begging for the direct method as well. 🙂
Atty started out the best of the three and I didn’t have to convince him of anything. I could just drop one treat at a time into his pan and he’d go for it. The next step is to drop another treat in just as the head is coming up. After this seems fairly solid (80% or better), start clicking for the head coming up and dropping treats in the pan. The two main criteria are speed of coming up and height – you want the head to come up about even with the shoulders.
When you’ve got good rate of response for the behavior you want, start adding a cue, such as “up”. That’s what Atty and I are working on now – adding the cue.
The other thing Atty and I worked on today was targeting some part of his body to his saddle pad. We started in the wash stall and I was on his left side. He very quickly got the idea and even offered a complete “hip over” or step toward the pad to touch the left side of his barrel to the pad. 🙂
Then he walked away to the hay box. I followed and started touching his right side with the pad. Here his response is more subtle – he’d take his head to the left so that his right barrel ever so slightly bulged out to ever so slightly touch the pad. Very interesting. However, he may think that taking his head away is the behavior I want, so I may have to set it up differently next time. Or reward something else instead. 🙂